Even though senior officials at the major oil companies working offshore Guyana say they will ensure their operations are conducted in accordance with environmental best practices, 24/7 oversight is still imperative says Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Vincent Adams.
But in light of the scarce resources available to the agency and the challenges being experienced with attracting qualified industry professionals, it is highly unlikely that Guyana would be able to provide robust supervision for the first two years of oil production.
Dr. Adams specifically stated, “The culture I am accustomed is that you have facility reps 24/7. And that is obviously my goal. But it wouldn’t be next year or the year after that.”
The EPA Head then spoke of the challenges being experienced in attracting petroleum specialists. In this regard, he reminded of the help received a few months ago from the World Bank which hired Executive Director of Agency for Security, Energy and the Environment (ASEA) of Mexico, Carlos De Regules, to prepare an organizational plan for the EPA’s Petroleum Unit. That department is expected to have 40 specialists.
The official said, “That plan is being rolled out right now… But one of the biggest challenges is getting people. Twice, we put out tenders and there were no takers in Guyana. So we have to go abroad. But when you do that, the price is higher so hopefully, we get the budget to build this organization that is so important because I have said over and over that oversight is important.”
Dr. Adams added, “…We trust the contactors but we know we have to be on site. We are working towards that.”